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The Spoonbill, Vol. 28, No. 11, March 1980
Image 7
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The Spoonbill, Vol. 28, No. 11, March 1980 - Image 7. March 1980. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. April 16, 2021. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/2007_023/item/35/show/25.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(March 1980). The Spoonbill, Vol. 28, No. 11, March 1980 - Image 7. Outdoor Nature Club Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/2007_023/item/35/show/25

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

The Spoonbill, Vol. 28, No. 11, March 1980 - Image 7, March 1980, Outdoor Nature Club Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed April 16, 2021, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/2007_023/item/35/show/25.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title The Spoonbill, Vol. 28, No. 11, March 1980
Alternative Title The Spoonbill, Vol. XXVIII, No. 11, March 1980
Contributor (Local)
  • Jones, Margaret
Publisher Outdoor Nature Club
Date March 1980
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Ornithology
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • newsletters
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
Original Item Location ID 2007-023, Box 11, Folder 7
ArchivesSpace URI /repositories/2/archival_objects/9865
Original Collection Outdoor Nature Club Records
Digital Collection Outdoor Nature Club Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/2007_023
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://libraries.uh.edu/branches/special-collections/
Use and Reproduction Rights Undetermined
File Name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Image 7
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
File Name uhlib_2007_023_b011_f007_003_007.jpg
Transcript Page 7 IT WAS A WESTERN WINTER ON THE UTC by Jim Morgan A single word best describes +he ornl+holdgical happenings on the UTC this past winter.. ..WESTERN! One has to go back some time to recall a more impressive list of western rarities than we had on the UTC this winter. Well documented sightings during the winter of 1979/1980 included Western Grebe, Black-chinned hummingbird, an Incredible 20+ Anna's Hummingbirds, a highly probably Allen's Hummingbird, four Ash-throated Flycatchers, Bewick's Wren, +wo Varied Thrushes, Yellow-headed Blackbird, +wo Wes+ern Tanagers, Hepatic Tanager, Lesser Goldfinch, an impressive four Green-tailed Towhees, Lark Bunting, and who knows how many Clay-colored Sparrows. And no more than a half-hour's drive west of the UTC, in little birded Colorado Coun+y, +he Attwa+er Prairie Chicken NWR Christmas Count turned up six Say's Phoebes Sage Thrasher, two Green-tailed Towhees, _[2 Lark Buntings, and 25 Clay-colored Sparrows! The Impressive movement of western species Into the UTC was accompanied by an equall impressive movement of Groove-billed Anis from the southwest, along with two Buff- bellied Hummingbirds and a Tropical Kingbird. Twice during the winter I had 7 or more Anis in binocular view at one time, once in north Baytown, the other time in Galveston. The fact is, Anis were everywhere in good numbers. In my opinion, two species really stood out this past winter....Anna's Hummingbirds and Clay-colored Sparrows. These two species were present In numbers unprecedented for +he UTC and one flirts wi+h words like "invasion" to describe their movement. Kelly Bryan from Hun+sville +old me +ha+ Anna's Hummingbirds also were In his area like never before, and I unders+and +ha+ several showed up in Louisiana. Why? And those Clay-colored Sparrows! I personally lost count at 40 Individuals when I included both fall and winter sightings. I suspect that hundreds of this usually very rare species were present on the UTC and in adjacent counties. Again, why? When one searches for reasons why such above described phenomena occur he considers such factors as weather, food supply, and even the more recent theory of habitat destruction causing birds to move far beyond their normal boundaries. When the SPOONBILL Editor asked me to do this article she was hoping I could find some of the answers. Right now I can only speculate on the reasons involved for the unusual movement of the western rarities into the UTC this past winter. In time, the seasonal reports in American Birds and o+her articles in the literature may provide the answers or at least some clues. So let's speculate a little. The weather this past fall and winter has been relatively mild nationwide (compared particularly with the recent much harsher fall/ winter seasons). And would weather start a Clay-colored Sparrow movement of mass proportions which was evident on the UTC as early as mid-October? Probably not. If weather was any factor at all it may have accounted for holding the hummingbirds on the UTC, since shrimp plant and other vegetaion has been spared through much of this past mild winter. But what brought all the Anna's Hummingbirds here in the first place? Habitat destruction surely Is a disruptive and stress causing factor as far as birds are concerned, and no doubt some range changes, distribution pattern changes, and even vagrancy results from this factor. But It Is hard to imagine Anna's Hummingbird and Clay-colored Sparrow "invasions" to be the result of habitat destruction over a one year (or shorter) period. The most logical reason for the western species to move into our area (and surrounding areas) this past winter is the lack of an adequate food supply in their normal wintering range. What really makes this past winter puzzling Is fhat the makeup of species involved in this movement included seed eaters as well as species relying mainly on insects for food. It is hard to imagine a positive correlation between Anna's Hummingbird and Clay-colored Sparrow movements, and one could argue that it was just a coincidence. As for the multitude of other western rarities on the UTC, could it be that we now have more observers who have just witnessed and reported a phenomenon that occurs much more often than any of us suspected? Perhaps some of our SPOONBILL readers who live outside the UTC can provide us with some clues to what happened on the UTC this past winter. It would be very interesting to find out if Clay-colored Sparrows occurred in west and central Texas in fewer or greater numbers this winter....or were their numbers normal? Similarly, were Anna's Hummingbirds in anything hut normal numbers out west? It has been interesting and fun to witness a "western11 winter on the UTC. It would now be just as Interesting to know why we had the western birds to observe.